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Debra Susan Ford

Published: Monday, June 16, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

OREGON – In the early morning hours of June 12, 2014, the world lost the wonderful soul of Debra Susan Ford (Dillow), 56, who succumbed gracefully to a battle with breast cancer. 

Born at Sterling Community General on July 27, 1957, to Burton Dillow and Elizabeth June Dillow (McCabe), Debra went on to attain lofty heights as an A-student as she graduated from Rock Falls Township High School in 1975. Aspiring from an early age to become a nurse, she achieved that goal in her early twenties with an L.P.N. degree, after graduating from Sauk Valley College in 1989 and eventually earned high honors as a registered nurse, a career at which she excelled for more than 2 decades, working many years alongside Dr. Gregory Reckamp at the KSB Clinic in Oregon.  

Debra was married in August 1980 to a successful general contractor, Michael Ford of Franklin Grove, Illinois, who preceded her in death in December 2010.  Their marriage produced three children, one daughter, BriAnn, having passed away during infancy. She is survived by two children, Lane Ford and Caitlyn Ford (Springer) and one granddaughter, Nellie, currently 7 months old, a pure joy to Deb until the end.  

Debra will be remembered for her kind-hearted nature and as a person who shunned the glow of her own achievements. She was boundlessly hardworking, a tireless caretaker with an incomparable capacity to share equally the despair and joys of others. She stood by everyone in her life through any emotional or physical crisis, absorbing the depth of every passage.  

Over the years, Debra cultivated a large extended family of patients she grew to love, and welcomed in the family members of her late husband as her own.   

Away from her career as a nurse, she was a great lover of animals and was an amazingly accomplished gardener, two traits she apparently inherited from her father, the late Burton Dillow, who passed away at 86, in July 2011. But her overriding passion was books. A voracious reader, she was rarely without a book in her quiet evenings at home.  

Although there will be no more telephone calls to her, the conversations her friends have had with her over the years will undoubtedly live on forever. There are certain people whose names set up a clamor in one’s heart; Debra Susan Ford (Dillow) was undeniably one of those.

She is survived by her mother, Elizabeth Dillow, 84, of Rock Falls; brothers, Dennis Dillow, 66, of Templeton, California, and Lonnie Dillow, 62, of Sterling; daughter, Caitlyn; son, Lane, and longtime friend and companion, Tim Winge. Special thanks and acknowledgement to her late husband’s family: Barbara Ford, Debra Adkins (Ford), Ron (Dawn) Ford and Gerry (Kathleen) Ford for providing unwavering support and companionship.  

Debra wished a memorial to be established in her name with any condolences and funds going to her children. Please send to 1122 C Jenny Dr., Sycamore, IL 60178. A memorial to celebrate her life is tentatively scheduled to be held on July 11, 2014, at Centennial Park in Rock Falls.    

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